Arsh Samra Law | Criminal & Family Law Lawyer | Vancouver BC
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Surrey Lawyer - Citizenship

Citizenship Services in Surrey

 

WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO A CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP?

A Canadian citizen is either

a) a person who is granted Canadian citizenship by birth or

b) through the naturalization process under the Canadian Citizenship Act.

WHO IS PART OF THE FIRST GROUP?

Canadian citizens by birth are persons who are deemed citizens by descent without having to apply for citizenship. This category would include most persons born in Canada who receive a birth certificate from a hospital located within Canada.

WHO IS PART OF THE SECOND GROUP?

Permanent residents form the second category and become citizens by grant through the naturalization process.

WHO IS EXAMINED WHEN ENTERING CANADA?

Every person seeking to enter Canada, including citizens, must appear at an examination to determine if that person has the right to enter Canada.

WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO ENTER CANADA?

Every Canadian citizen within the meaning of the Citizenship Act has the right to enter Canada and an officer must allow the person to enter Canada if satisfied, following an examination, that the person is a citizen. Once a citizen, there is no legal distinction between birth citizens and naturalized citizens with the exception of the possibility of citizenship revocation in rare cases.

WHAT RIGHTS DOES A NATURALIZED CITIZEN HAVE IN COMPARISON TO A CITIZEN WHO WAS BORN IN CANADA?

The Citizenship Act provides that a naturalized citizen is entitled to all the rights, powers and privileges, and has the same status as a Canadian citizen by birth.

WHO MUST BE GRANTED CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP?

According to the Citizenship Act, the minister must, grant citizenship to a person who makes an application and:

(a) is 18 years of age or over;

(b) has been lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence and has, within the four years immediately preceding his or her application, accumulated at least three years of residence in Canada, according to a stipulated formula;

(c) has an adequate knowledge of the English or French language;

(d) has an adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of Canadian citizenship; and

(e) is not under a deportation order or the subject of a declaration by the Canadian government to the effect that there are reasonable grounds to believe that granting citizenship to the person would be prejudicial to the security of Canada or that the person would engage in organized crime.

WHAT IMPACT DID THE RECENT AMENDMENTS HAVE ON CITIZENS?

Those persons who prior to recent amendments ceased to be citizens for reasons other than those of

a) renouncing their citizenship;

b) having their citizenship revoked for fraud or misrepresentation; or

c) failing to make an application to retain their citizenship

are still considered citizens.

WHAT IF I WAS BORN OUTSIDE OF CANADA BUT MY PARENT IS A CANADIAN CITIZEN?

Persons who were born outside Canada before February 15, 1977 to a parent who was a Canadian citizen are deemed (considered) citizens. The Citizenship Act places limitations on the citizenship rights of second generation individuals born or adopted outside of Canada.

WHO DO THE AMENDMENTS NOT APPLY TO?

The amendment will not apply to the following persons:

(1) lost Canadians who are the second or subsequent generation born abroad since February 15, 1977 who lost Canadian citizenship because of a failure to apply to retain citizenship and register as a citizen before attaining age 28;

(2) persons who are currently holding citizenship cards issued in "error";

(3) a child born abroad to a parent who derived his or her citizenship from a Canadian parent who was also born abroad will not automatically become a Canadian citizen; and

(4) a person who is the second or subsequent generation born abroad to a Canadian parent may be stateless if he or she does not acquire citizenship of the state of birth, or through his or her other parent.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS OF NATURALIZATION?

(a) — Residency

(b) — The Language Requirement

(c) — Knowledge of Canada

(d) — Age Requirement

WHO IS INELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

The following applicants are also excluded from becoming citizens :

a) failing to meet the residency requirement;

b) applicants who are in prison, on parole or probation;

c) applicants who have been in prison, on parole or probation for a year or more in the past four years;

d) applicants who have been "convicted of an indictable offence or crime, or an offence under the Citizenship Act in the three years preceding" the application; applicants who, at the time of application, have been charged with any offence under the Citizenship Act, or an indictable offence or crime; or anyone who has been issued a removal order;

e) applicants who have been convicted of a crime against humanity or war crime, or anyone who is being investigated or has been charged with such crimes; or

applicants whose Canadian citizenship has been revoked in the past five years;

f) children born to foreign diplomats are not entitled to Canadian citizenship by descent;

g) persons who are charged with an indictable offence,

h) persons charged specifically with offences relating to misrepresentation and counterfeit citizenship certificates;

i) persons who are under investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service or the Minister of Justice, or who are being investigated or convicted for war crimes and/or crimes against humanity;

j) persons who have not obtained an authorization to return to Canada where one is necessary for them to legally enter Canada; and

k) persons whose citizenship was revoked in the five years preceding the person's application.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I COMMIT A CRIME BEFORE I AM APPLYING FOR A CITIZENSHIP?

A person may still be ineligible for citizenship if convicted of an indictable offence during the three year period before the submission of the application.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I COMMIT A CRIME AFTER I AM APPLYING FOR A CITIZENSHIP?

In addition, if after submitting the application for citizenship the applicant is convicted of an indictable offence, the applicant is deemed ineligible for citizenship.

IF I COMMIT A CRIME AFTER I AM APPLYING FOR A CITIZENSHIP DO I HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO DISCLOSE THE CHARGE OR CONVICTION?

If an application for citizenship has been submitted and the applicant is subsequently charged with an offence or convicted of an offence, the applicant is under a positive obligation to disclose regardless if he or she is merely charged and/or is convicted to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). If he or she does not disclose this may result in a finding of knowingly concealing material circumstances in order to obtain Canadian citizenship.

WHAT DO I GOT TO KNOW FOR THE CITIZENSHIP TEST?

The Canadian Citizenship tests applicants on two of the basic requirements for citizenship:

1) an adequate knowledge of one of the official languages of Canada, and

2) an adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

WHICH TOPICS?

Applicants will be tested on their knowledge and understanding of the following topics:

a) the main characteristics of Canadian political and military history;

b) the main characteristics of Canadian social and cultural history;

c) the main characteristics of Canadian physical and political geography;

d) the main characteristics of the Canadian system of government as a constitutional monarchy;

e) participation in the Canadian democratic process;

f) participation in Canadian society; and

g) respect for the rights, freedoms and obligations set out in the laws of Canada

HOW DO THEY TEST MY ENGLISH OR FRENCH?

The applicant's knowledge of either English or French will be determined by the applicant's performance on the test which means an applicant should be able to:

(1) communicate in either language in everyday situations such as shopping, using public transportation, understanding simple questions; and

(2) convey information reliably.

DO I HAVE TO BE ABLE TO READ OR WRITE?

Applicants for citizenship are not required to be literate in either of the official languages of Canada in order to be granted citizenship. Those applicants that fail the written test will be scheduled for an oral interview with a Citizenship Judge. The applicant must pass this interview to qualify for citizenship.

WHAT IF I PASS THE WRITTEN TEST?

Even for those applicants who pass the written test, the Citizenship Judge may require the applicant to appear at a hearing to assess the applicant's oral comprehension and ability to respond to oral statements.

HOW DOES A CITIZEN LOSE THEIR CITIZENSHIP?

If a Canadian citizen is made a citizen by way of grant, they can lose their citizenship if it revoked. It can be revoked if the Governor in Council is made aware that the citizen in question used false representation or fraud by knowingly concealing material circumstances with respect to an application for citizenship or application for permanent residence that preceded the application for Canadian citizenship. The key is when the minister becomes informed that a Canadian citizen obtained their citizenship through fraudulent means.

HOW CAN A CITIZEN RENOUNCE THEIR CITIZENSHIP

NOTE: Not everyone can renounce their citizenship.

A Canadian citizen who decides to renounce Canadian citizenship to become citizens of another country that may not allow for dual citizenship, must make a formal application to renounce his or her citizenship. In order to renounce Canadian citizenship, one must meet the following conditions:

a) be a Canadian citizen;

b) be or will be the citizen of another country other than Canada if the application for renunciation is approved;

c) does not reside in Canada;

d) is not a minor;

e) is not a threat to Canada's security or part of a pattern of criminal activity; and

f) is not prevented from understanding the significance of renouncing citizenship by reason of having a mental disability.

ARE THERE EXCEPTIONS?

The minister does have the prerogative to waive on compassionate grounds certain of the above conditions; namely, the conditions that the applicant for renunciation of citizenship understands the significance of citizenship and that the applicant does not reside in Canada.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF RENOUNCING MY CITIZENSHIP?

Canadian citizens who renounce citizenship give up the following rights and privileges:

a) the right to travel under a Canadian passport;

b) the right to vote in Canada; and

c) the right to return to Canada as a permanent resident without going through the immigration process.

WHEN IS RENOUNCIATION CONSIDERED OFFICIAL?

If the application for renunciation of citizenship is approved, the minister will issue a certificate of renunciation to the applicant. After the certificate is issued, the applicant ceases to be a Canadian citizen.

HOW CAN A CITIZEN RESTORE THEIR CITIZENSHIP?

An application to restore citizenship must be filled out by the former citizen who seeks resumption of Canadian citizenship.